Chloroform is a colorless, sweetly-scented liquid best known for its historical use as an anesthetic. It has since been abandoned in medicine due to safety concerns. It is produced by reacting chlorine with ethanol. While relatively stable, it is toxic and should be handled with care. Excessive exposure to chloroform can cause long term health damage to several major organs.
The use of chloroform as an anesthetic dates from 1847, but almost immediately concerns were raised. In 1848, a patient died because her heart went into fibrillation, and continued use of the drug only cemented the link between chloroform and cardiac events.
Today, chloroform is used in a variety of industrial processes including the manufacture of chemicals, refrigerants, and solvents.